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Mamihlapinatapai (sometimes spelled mamihlapinatap'ei) is a word from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuegomarker, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the "most succinct word", and is considered one of the hardest words to translate. It describes "a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start."

It is also mentioned in Defining the World in a discussion of the difficulties facing Samuel Johnson in trying to arrive at succinct, yet accurate, definitions of words.

The word consists of the reflexive/passive prefix ma- (mam- before a vowel), the root ihlapi( ),which means to be at a loss as what to do next, the stative suffix -n, an achievement suffix -ata, and the dual suffix -apai, which in composition with the reflexive mam- has a reciprocal sense.

It is also the title of a song by the Americanmarker singer-songwriter Ronny Cox.


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